Celebrate Charlie Parker’s Birthday with the American Jazz Museum

For Immediate Release 

July 17, 2019

Marissa Baum


Kansas City, MO – Join the American Jazz Museum for an entire month of programming celebrating Charlie “Bird” Parker. Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, was born August 29th, 1920 and grew up playing the saxophone in the district’s jazz clubs. Parker attended what is now known as Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, but soon withdrew in order to pursue music full-time. Parker’s virtuoso is known worldwide, and he was a leading figure in the development of Bebop. Charlie Parker’s plastic Grafton Saxophone, played in the now famous 1953 Jazz at Massey Hall concert, is on display in the Museum’s permanent exhibit. This August, the American Jazz Museum presents four unique public programs, exhibits, and performances honoring Parker’s legacy.


Charlie Parker: Ready, Set, Bird! - Friday, Aug. 2nd

Charlie Parker: Bird’s The Word - Friday, Aug. 16th

Charlie Parker: Expectations of Bird - Saturday, Aug. 24th 

Charlie Parker: Bird’s Fixings - Thursday, August 29th


Charlie Parker: Ready, Set, Bird!

Friday, August 2nd at 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM

American Jazz Museum Atrium, FREE

In partnership with Grace United Community Ministries Youth Education Initiatives, "Ready, Set, Bird!" features a social hour and music by local Kansas City jazz musicians.

  • 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM, social hour viewing photos, albums, and artifacts related to Parker. Refreshments provided.
  • 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM, Performances by saxophonist Ernest Melton and keyboardist Desmond Mason
  • 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM, Performance by vocalist Ida McBeth and friends  

Ernest Melton

Ernest picked up the saxophone at age 10 when he was enrolled in Longfellow Academy of the Arts in Kansas City, MO. Today he plays tenor saxophone in multiple Kansas City bands, citing Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Kenny Garrett and Pharoah Sanders as his major influences.

Desmond Mason

Desmond is a solo artist and the CEO of Out D. Park Productions, LLC, a music production company.

Ida McBeth

Ida’s repertoire includes pop-style ballads, jazz and blues, show tunes, funk, R&B, gospel and well known standards. With more than 50 years in the entertainment industry, Ida continues her influence on Kansas City jazz music.


Charlie Parker: Bird’s The Word

Friday, August 16th at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM 

American Jazz Museum Atrium, FREE

"Bird's The Word" features poetry and a beatbox performance and workshop by local Kansas City artists.

  • 7:00 PM - 7:45 PM, original poetry by Mary Moore
  • 8:00 PM - 8:30 PM, beatbox performance and workshop by Luke Harbur
  • 8:30 PM - 9:00 PM, original poetry by Glenn North

Mary Moore

Mary has performed over 30 years, with audiences residing in Kansas City, the Midwest, Europe, and Africa. Her other passion lies in community activism, focusing on parents and homeless women in Kansas City's urban core.

Luke Harbur

Luke started beatboxing when he was 10 years old. 14 years later he has performed in 11 different states, with a mission for audiences to find passion and happiness through their talents.

Glenn North

Glenn is the Direction of Recreation - Public Programs & Events at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center and State Museum. Glenn is also the first and only Poet Laureate of 18th & Vine.


Charlie Parker: Expectations of Bird

Saturday, August 24th at 5:30 pm

American Jazz Museum Atrium, FREE

"Expectations of Bird" is an art showcase by Ron Chaney, owner of Ethnic Art Gallery, and artist Alexander Austin. Artwork will be for sale.


Charlie Parker: Bird’s Fixings

Thursday, August 29th at 5:00 pm

The Blue Room, FREE

In partnership with Marr Sound Archives and the Miller Nichols Library at The University of Missouri-Kansas City, "Bird's Fixings" features a panel discussion about the life of Parker.

  • 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM, panel discussion about the life of Charlie Parker hosted by Chuck Haddix and Clarence Smith

Chuck Haddix

Chuck is the curator of the Marr Sound Archives, a collection of 400,000 historic sound recordings housed in the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  He hosts the “Fish Fry” a popular radio program featuring the finest in Americana, blues, soul, rhythm and blues, jumpin’ jive and zydeco on kcur.org FM 89.3, Kansas City’s public radio station, Friday and Saturday nights from 8:00 to midnight. 

Clarence Smith

Clarence is coordinator of music at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley, where he teaches jazz history, music appreciation, and percussion. He also serves as Director of the Kansas City Jazz Academy, the American Jazz Museum's youth program for jazz education.



About the American Jazz Museum

The mission of the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City is to celebrate and exhibit the experience of jazz as an original American art form through performance, exhibition, education, and research at one of the country’s jazz crossroads – 18th & Vine. As the only museum in the world solely focused on the preservation, exhibition and advancement of jazz music, the American Jazz Museum is dedicated to public service and collaborative efforts to expand the influence, awareness and appreciation of jazz among the widest demographic of people across the Kansas City region, as well as among those based in various locations worldwide. For a complete list of upcoming events and performances, visit www.americanjazzmuseum.org